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Wingfield Pines

The Wingfield Pines Abandoned Mine Drainage site is located in Upper St. Clair, Allegheny County. In the 1940s, the land was strip mined and later transformed into Wingfield Pines golf course and swim club.

Twenty years passed before the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) obtained the land. The contaminated water from the old mine freely drained into Chartiers Creek, along with high 
contents of iron. ALT initiated plans to reclaim and restore the land, including purifying the water that was deposited into the creek.

The groundwater becomes contaminated as it passes through the abandoned mine, dissolving portions of the iron still present in the mines. The ferrous iron becomes ferric iron when the water comes into contact with oxygen. An orange tint results when the iron becomes solid and falls out of the water, leaving deposits on the bottom of the ponds.

Passive drainage systems use gravity to slowly drive the water  through five settling ponds, plus a wetland. The water moves at a slow enough pace to maximize contact with atmospheric oxygen, which induces iron precipitation. It takes approximately 48 hours for the water to flow from its entry point in Pond 1 to the outflow point at the end of the wetland area. The 8-acre network of settlement ponds and wetlands eliminates 99 percent of the iron oxide from entering Chartiers Creek.

     

Reflections

Logan Hyland, Former Duquesne CERE Student"Environmental field-testing and analysis is particularly useful for developing good scientific habits. This project demonstrated the living applications of unit conversion, mathematical manipulation, research, and organization. The digestion of data following collection utilizes mathematics, biology, chemistry, engineering, and, most of all, patience. This project also sharpened my leadership skills. Managing multiple personnel, schedules, and various data implements was invaluable to my career development. Most of all, this project enhanced my critical thinking skills, as the scientific analysis of environmental processes contained within a world bound by the orders of imperfection helped me realize the necessity of critical thinking. Wingfield Pines represents more than a web page with contributions from students, land-trust board members, and instructors. It symbolizes a legacy of educational and personal development."


"Wingfield Pines was an opportunity to serve the community and develop personal skills by applying the education I learned over my time at Duquesne University.  By taking knowledge learned at Duquesne University such as electro-fishing, water chemistry collection, analysis, and more, myself and students aided Allegheny Land Trust with our service that would otherwise cost them. While at first hand appearing a small task, upon reflection I realized the greater role I played as the work done goes to maintaining and improving the system, which will aid the people who visit recreationally, improve the environment of Chartiers Creek, and save the surrounding communities money.  Not only was the work able to improve the community or my scientific skills, it also improved my personal skills in becoming a servant leader.  I was able to take on a role in aiding, teaching, and observing the growth of fellow students by serving with them.  My service with Wingfield Pines has lead me to take on larger roles at Duquesne, and to seek out more ways to apply my service and self."    

-Christopher Garbark, B.S. Biology, May 2014